Acronyms & Anchors: Language and Corporate Culture

This summer, Life Strategies hired a program assistant to support a variety of projects. As with any new employee, there were many things Kristin needed to learn. Along with tangible items like policy and procedure, she needed to learn about our “corporate culture” (i.e.,  our corporate beliefs and values).Corporate culture can, at times, be difficult for insiders to see. What is said and done within the workplace can become quite automatic over time and it’s not until an “outsider” comes in that corporate culture is illuminated.

For us, language is great example of corporate culture. I can’t begin to list the number of acronyms I use on a day-to-day basis; even multiple acronyms within one sentence. To further complicate matters, in the career development sector many acronyms include the same letters and aren’t that distinct from each other (e.g., BCCDA, CCDA, CCCD, CCDF, CCDP, CMPP, APCDA).

IMG_1887 IMG_1343Other terminology may have developed over time. For example, we use “anchor” to indicate a request to record or make note of a certain detail (e.g., “Can you anchor that?” “I’ve anchored that edit for later”). This isn’t something Kristin had encountered before; I hadn’t noticed how frequently I used that term until she asked.

Helping new hires understand your corporate culture is an important element of employee orientation. Ensure you take time to reflect on your organization’s culture, paying close attention to language (e.g., key terms, jargon, and acronyms) as well as how values and mission are exemplified.

Leave a Reply